Friday, September 20, 2013

The psychopath problem

The psychology world seems to be taking a fresh look at sociopathy. Apparently once people dared question the infallibility of Hare's diagnostic criteria, the Psychopathy Check List Revised ("PCL-R"), it opened the door for other heresies against established views.

In his new book "Forensic Psychology: A Very Short Introduction," David Canter, a psychology professor at the University of Hudderfield, briefly describes the psychopath problem:

Until you have met someone whom you know has committed horrific violent crimes but can be charming and helpful, it is difficult to believe in the Hollywood stereotype of the psychopath. Without doubt, there are people who can seem pleasant and plausible in one situation but can quickly turn to viciousness. There are also people who just never connect with others and are constantly, from an early age, at war with those with whom they come into contact. If we need a label for these people, we can distinguish them as type 1 and type 2 psychopaths. The former have superficial charm, are pathological liars, being callous and manipulative. The clearest fictional example of this sort of psychopath is Tom Ripley, who has the central role in many of Patricia Highsmith’s amoral novels. The type 2 psychopaths are more obviously criminal, impulsive, and irresponsible with a history of juvenile delinquency and early behavioural problems.

Another label that may be assigned to people who are habitually involved in illegal, reckless, and remorseless activities that has a much broader net than ‘psychopathy’ is ‘antisocial personality disorder’. But we should not be seduced into thinking that these diagnoses are anything other than summary descriptions of the people in question. They do not help us to understand the causes of people behaving in these unacceptable ways. Some experts have even commented that they are actually moral judgements masquerading as medical explanations. So although the labels ‘personality disorder’ and ‘psychopath’ do summarize useful descriptions of some rather difficult, and often nasty, people, we need to look elsewhere for explanations of how they come to be like that.
The psychopath problem for society is "how do we keep psychopaths from acting in antisocial ways?" The psychopath problem for psychologists is "what are we really dealing with here?" Before psychologists can even begin understanding psychopaths, they must be able to identify them. Before psychologists can identify psychopaths, they must be able to understand them. It's a classic chicken/egg dilemma that leads critics like our favorite narcissist Sam Vaknin to quip that "psychopathy seems to be merely what the PCL-R measures!" and probably led the good folks putting together the DSM to eventually exclude psychopathy as a diagnosis in favor of the more criminal-sentencing friendly ASPD.

Still, these tests are being used, and brains of people flagged by these tests are being scanned and studied, helping scientists to learn more about . . . the brains of people who would be flagged by these tests. Some of the new discoveries or theories about psychopathy jive with my own personal experiences, and some of them strike me as being less than accurate -- an attempt to add an epicycle to support some of the weaker premises that provide the basis for the modern study of psychopathy. Maybe it is true that we are on the verge of a breakthrough, as some psychologists think -- a unifying theory of the causes and explanations for psychopathic behavior. If we are, I think it will have to be a product of fresh thinking, rather than continuing to focus on the same "20 items designed to rate symptoms which are common among psychopaths in forensic populations (such as prison inmates or child molesters)."


  1. "But we should not be seduced into thinking that these diagnoses are anything other than summary descriptions of the people in question. They do not help us to understand the causes of people behaving in these unacceptable ways. Some experts have even commented that they are actually moral judgements masquerading as medical explanations. So although the labels ‘personality disorder’ and ‘psychopath’ do summarize useful descriptions of some rather difficult, and often nasty, people, we need to look elsewhere for explanations of how they come to be like that."

    Read: These labels are simply boxes for our society to throw people into as a way of easing the social process. These labels have no use outside of the aforementioned use.

    "The psychopath problem for society is "how do we keep psychopaths from acting in antisocial ways?""

    Obviously there is no cure, as psychopathy has to do with genetics and brain anomalies. (Anomalies, that, may I add, are so obscure and currently impossible to treat.)

    "Maybe it is true that we are on the verge of a breakthrough, as some psychologists think -- a unifying theory of the causes and explanations for psychopathic behavior."

    The concept has been around 20+ years and NOW we're getting a breakthrough? That seems pathetic.

    1. The concept that the world was round was around longer than twenty years before we fully realized the truth.

      TOE is the holy grail of all scientific endeavor. But the 'causes and explanations' often change over long periods of time, ever expanding via technological advancement and breakthroughs in consciousness. One mind pollinates another until a sudden radiant bloom bursts upon the field.

  2. Some experts have even commented that they are actually moral judgements masquerading as medical explanations.

    Right. Why "cure" something that isn't considered "wrong," particularly if morality is dependent upon social acceptability?

    Some might say that an illness/disorder requires treatment because it is causes suffering to the individual experiencing it, but if someone diagnosed as a psychopath/sociopath is not suffering, then why treat them unless to satisfy a social/moral standard?

  3. no one said...

    Right. Why "cure" something that isn't considered "wrong," particularly if morality is dependent upon social acceptability?

    Nothing to do with morals IMO, have you considered the damage done, the cost (not just monetary) involved? Probably not.

  4. @no one the problem isn't morality, it isn't heaven and hell, it's the psychopaths who cannot function in society who ruin it for the psychopaths who can function. The psychopaths who cannot function are the excuse the government relies upon to build a police state.

    Curing psychopaths if such a thing were possible would not have anything to do with morality, it would have everything to do with improving the quality of life and life expectancy of psychopaths, specifically the low functioning psychopaths.

    The behavior of psychopaths make them a danger to themselves and others and for this basis if a cure would be possible it's a possibility we should explore. The life of a psychopath throughout history takes on a very different trajectory, it's usually short and sweet. Some call this the fast life, as psychopaths tend to live faster and more aggressively than others, but it also means psychopaths tend to die faster and for very stupid reasons because they don't feel fear, because they don't feel remorse, because they don't understand human emotions that surround them.

    1. because they don't feel fear, because they don't feel remorse, because they don't understand human emotions that surround them.

      Do you understand what you are talking about? It's a bit difficult for the lay nitwit, maybe. But it is interesting nevertheless, since you can see what type of tests your opinions are based on. The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain

      Personally, I can see that a 65 or 75% fearful face (photo)--I didn't invent that standard--may not be that easy to recognize. And that seems one of the basic assessments.

      Besides, on a more subjective level. I somehow doubt that in the most difficult or subjectively highly dangerous situation I got myself into, it would have helped in any way to show fear. Quite the opposite, my bluff wouldn't have worked.

      The question I have for you. If my experience taught me that it may not be helpful in a highly dangerous situation, since it does not change anything. May quite possibly even hinder a strategy. What exact use has the expression?

  5. Define psychopathy/sociopathy, and then we'll talk.

  6. Another alias for the guy whom wrote postsAugust 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    So nice to be on the side with no conscience... If they trie something they are screwed because it can be unequal and make people go mad. But if WE do something then their reaction will be small because they think we are naturally gonna do stuff like this

    1. I'm sure society is quaking in its boots after that chilling remark.

  7. There was a specialist on yahoo answers that mentioned that sociopaths have stage 1 sleep waves when they're awake.

    i don't know i thought that was interesting.

    (still looking for the fucking link again, someone should help me look :/)

  8. yup, here we go!

    (Ctrl+F alpha waves)

    I thought the rather lengthy description had an interesting take on what sociopaths are.. surely I take it all with a grain of salt because as it was said before [in I think another post] people really don't seem to have a lot of good, verifiable in-depth information on sociopaths or the like. This pisses me of greatly.

    Not knowing at all whether I'm an empath or a sociopath, I have had a genuine like for certain people that have confided their socio-pathology, and it doesn't seem like it always has to be such a big fucking deal. I mean, especially since it's supposed to exist all around us.

  9. look it well known they make good bosses. they will do whats needed to make themselves look good. Think about the polls in history to. ITS JUST NOT GOOD TO BE AROUND THEM.

  10. Not all type 2 psychopaths wind up in jail - esp. if they have enough impulse control. They'll just be scheming, retaliatory and tyrannical assholes. If they have brains, they'll do well in business. Think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Lance Armstrong.

  11. Each "personality disorder" represents "a world unto itself" and calls
    for it's own treatment method.
    In most of the more "common" pathologies the therapist exhorts the
    person to take more risks, be more assertive be less guilt stricken.
    In the case of sociopathy, he has to do the EXACT opposite. He has to
    appeal to conscience, compell the patient to be more cautious, explain
    the benifits of coperation. That's why the therapist is fighting a lost
    cause. If sociopathy has a physical basis, he can employ all the "talk
    therapy" in the world to no avail.
    Besides, there ARE many positive sides to sociopathy. Who wouldn't want
    to live life in the moment, display confidence, be unpreturbed by the
    "what if" questions that be devil the empath, and not carry around a load
    of regret? Form Casey Anthony's viewpoint, she has a LOT to look forward
    to. Just wait for those pesky court cases to be dissolved.
    If a person doesn't want to be hurt by a sociopath, the onuis is on them.
    Learn to recokognise the sociopath and be as independant as possible.
    In fact, if the empath becomes MORE like the sociopath, that is his
    defense from sociopaths. He'll enjoy his own company, learn minor mechanical skills (How to get his/her car up and running, fix a leaky
    faucet) raise his/her spritual comprehensive level. It is needeeness
    that places people in the victim cataglory. And inattentiveness. "Did
    you remember to lock the doors and windows, before retiring for the
    If society promotes victimazation through ignorance (So it can profit)
    there are ways to counteract that. Strangely enough, sociopaths understand these ways. But as with all knowledge it can be used for good
    or bad. Sociopaths too often use this knowledge for bad. Because "Power
    corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  12. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but surely the problem for psychologists is that the sort of psychopaths they're interested in 'finding are precisely the ones that are hardest to identify: the ones that have made a success of their lives in as much as they have continued to operate undetected. As, ME points out, it's a kind of circular problem that is made all the more difficult to pierce because of ignorance.

    Obviously it's very unlikely that anyone who thought they were psychopathic would come forward of their own accord to submit to research. You'd have to be stupid, right?

    So with this in mind, would it be out of the question for researchers to provide some kind of financial or other incentive to make such people want to present themselves, confidentially, to psychological and neurological research?

    Any thoughts on this?

    1. That's why this blog/community is so incredibly unique. While 80% plus of the comments come from non-sociopaths, it's interesting to observe the consistency of character that seems to present with most "regulars". If I were a researcher I would find the comment streams to be fascinating in helping to discern motivations and triggering events/behaviors to come up with a loose outline of "what makes psychopaths tick?"

      I am a regular here after having contact with some personality disordered individuals who caused me and my family a great deal of pain. The highly socially skilled individual who lacks empathy is the hardest riddle for me to solve. One take away I've gained is that higher functioning psychopaths may present with flatline affect, but are quite touchy/irritable. What I am still trying to figure out is if the trigger points are global or unique to each individual.

      What I've seen here is that there's little tolerance for ignorance. In many ways, the "unforgivable sin" that triggers SW personalities seems to be poorly reasoned emotion driven judgments about how things "should" be. Obviously, there is also aggression that goes beyond this trigger, but it seems like the "fangs" come out after someone posts an inflammatory/pity seeking diatribe that leads me to conclude that there is a critical point where a psychopathic person is "done" seeing that person as potentially useful.

      For this reason, I wonder if the way to unlock some of the inner workings of the psychopathic brain might be to solicit study subjects by identifying frustration patterns. Certainly, everyone gets irritated, but most people don't experience annihilating rage or its chilling counterpart- cold indifference based on an internal judgment of that person no longer being useful. There's also a certain contempt that is displayed for individuals who are emotionally "sloppy" and leave nothing to the imagination as to what their motivations might be. The psychopath reads this as a sign of weakness, and to be contemptible.

      People might ask- well- what about stranger victims who are stalked and eliminated who have never interacted with the psychopath? I think the vulnerability/exposure of the victim is the trigger point- and once that point has been exposed then the victim can become a scapegoat for all the built up frustrations the psychopath carries (more than average bc they are constantly trying not to let a mask slip, and that is exhausting).

      So perhaps researchers find their subjects in a roundabout way. Which subjects express markedly stronger hatred of vulnerability and stupidity? Identify that bias in an individual who is capable of being highly conscientious (when they choose to) and you likely are on the trail of a Type 1 psychopath.

    2. Hi, 'ME' (some coincidence, huh, or is it...) thanks for replying with such a long and thoughtful answer.

      I was *this* close to coming back and saying something along the lines of "but plenty of nasty non-psychopathic people look down on others over perceived weaknesses" but your final sentence stopped me from doing so, so I'm glad I read to the end!

      Yours is a solution that researchers should perhaps be looking into and, like you, I'd be very surprised if there weren't some researchers actively monitoring this blog and the forum to get an "insider's look" (they'd certainly been missing a trick if they weren't).

      I have also noticed that a lot of people posting here (you have to assume that at least some of them are sociopaths), especially on the forum, can't seem to resist belittling the 'stupidity' of other users. So I would agree that this seems to be a shared trait among many; it can be thought of as an "obvious socio is obvious" situation which could indeed be exploited by psychologists.

      But there is still the problem of actually getting people to come forward. Unless compulsory psychological profiling were used on all citizens or all applicants to job x, etc (and I don't think any of us would want that, socio or otherwise) it still seems as though researchers would only be dealing with people who have already been referred to them. And these would be the sort who (presumably) on some level don't fit in well with society and can't blend in as well as Type 1's.

      And it's these people, the stereotypical "snakes in suits", that have surely got to be the 'prize specimens' of any major breakthrough.

    3. The best way is to bury questions within a larger test like the MMPI . Then, connect with top drawer human resources professionals about the logistics of having the tests be a matter of course for all new hires. The test can be explained as a tool for identifying hidden competencies that may open up internal hiring opportunities.

      But careful... once you've identified individuals with this leaning, you run the risk of a very twisted mastermind seeking to "weaponize" them to suit hidden purposes. The only ethical way to handle results is to make sure the recipient knows that you know what their scores mean, but that you see an upside to having a prosocial sociopath on board. This could prevent a lot of HR nightmares down the road.

      And no, I'm not ME- but I do believe that no one is inherently evil, so that's why solving the riddle of what makes these personalities tick is something I continue to explore. If you can identify and satisfy motivations, you create a win/win outcome with people who are different than you.

    4. alternately- just ask the CIA what their methodology is for finding new recruits. Brilliant patriotic sociopaths... sounds like your classic type 1.


    5. So perhaps researchers find their subjects in a roundabout way. Which subjects express markedly stronger hatred of vulnerability and stupidity? Identify that bias in an individual who is capable of being highly conscientious (when they choose to) and you likely are on the trail of a Type 1 psychopath.

      Mach, where exactly do you draw the line between hatred (anger?) and severe critique, no matter how faulty and no matter how much it may rely on a very specific set of ultimately very subjective personal memes or circumstances. Try to create a set of circumstances, a test enviroment, that fits precisely the group you would love to see studied under these conditions.

      What seems on your mind is that criminal psychopaths develop a feeling for victims. And to do something bad they maybe respond to preceived to "intellectual weakness" too sometimes? Do you have any evidence for that? That's a pretty easy connection of dots. Don't you think?

      Maybe someone's toleration simply has somehow descended to a lower level, due to (random pick) the perception of repetition and chatter. Or--why not?--too easily held convictions he or she considers wrong. Never mind why:

      This is the type of sublimated anger, I really love. Loved to do in fact in my work, occasionally. Now this is not a weak opponent, is it?

      While I am not sure what exactly or whom you are referring to, I have never been to the forum, I too occasionally have to let off steam, when an argument for whatever reason makes me angry. But it is rarely to hurt someone but to make them think. Although I ultimately doubt that "servant" like David Books bothers about what Bacevich thinks. But my principle is also, never say never. I would find it very interesting to study the "normal" war cheerleaders that probably have never ever worn a uniform. And I also would have never expected that I would find in the ones that actually did quite interesting people. Now technically, they could be psychopath, even Bacevich.

      Disclosure, I have downloaded the "Snakes in Suits" (ebook), but have so far only followed the recurring prototype to the end, that does not happen with all I read, but it happens occasionally. It seems I got bored around two third of it, and decided to not waste further time.

    6. @LeaNder: If you're at all interested in seeing what I was referring to with regards to the forum, go have a read. I don't know what kind of state it's in today, but the times I've been on there it was largely composed of victims whining about how they've been treated by sociopaths and then those (self professed, of course) socios turning on them like a pack of wild animals.

      When there weren't any gullible types around, the regulars would just pick fights among themselves, usually over one of them having been perceived to slip up or otherwise proved themselves an 'idiot' worthy of ridicule.

      @Machavellianempath: Do you think it's possible for a socio to be patriotic? To me it seems kind of at odds with the definition.

      I'd say your previous post about how to go about the testing, while not exactly fool proof (as anyone who has studied psychology knows that researchers often cloak the true purpose of a test with decoy information) does seem quite a clever way of going about it.

      I agree it's a fascinating topic and knowledge of these various personality types can definitely prove useful. And I'm not big on talking about 'evil' (or 'good' for that matter) as I don't believe they exist objectively beyond human consensus.

    7. patriotic is simply meant willing to be aligned with the US. There is no sentiment or morality implied in that.

    8. @ LeaNder-

      I draw the line when contempt for weakness/stupidity a party possesses becomes more dominant than an awareness of the other party's humanity. Sociopaths don't seem to mind any of the seven deadly sins with that same intensity.

    9. Well, Mach, it appears you've got me dead to rights. :D I'll admit it, I can't help but become a right bastard when triggered in the manner you describe. Coarseness, vulgarity, and rudeness set me off as well as the stupidity, weakness, and histrionics you refer to. I understand these things bother others as well, but I am told that my retaliatory behaviours are frightening and I have flirted with jail time because I have difficulty letting matters lie.

      I do everything I can to cultivate a pleasant and agreeable demeanor, but it's a hard bloody slog at times. Fortunately, I'm a leisurely sort of fellow, and my sheer laziness will mitigate the cold wrath that leads me to initiate nasty confrontations.

      Two years ago I moved to a northern region and began to feel a bit tired, and more lazy than ever, so I consulted a psychiatrist. She began behaving oddly, as if I were an adversary, and started asking questions which I later recognised as being part of the PCL-R. I was quite put out, and she dropped me as a client. I found someone else to prescribe the medication I was after, and he confirmed that she had all but diagnosed me. (I refused to provide information from my childhood offences to her, as it was none of her bloody concern!)

      Needless to say, I'm not liable to repeat that experience! I went to the group therapy she suggested a handful of times, only to be told (in so many words) that I was inappropriately angry/aggressive or some such nonsense. I can assure you, that was not case, the other attendees were bloody whingers and I simply told them as much.

      "Blunt tactlessness," blah blah blah :D

    10. @ Fred-
      well, a lot of therapists suck. I've had only one good one. Anyone who is out to convert you to being more like them does not deserve special letters after their names other than those that make up four letter words. The key is finding someone who tries to understand you rather than just jump to judgment.

    11. Mach, well, basically, yes. It's a truism that there are good and less good people, as in every profession.

      But what exactly do you expect if you go somewhere for a specific reason, but don't talk about it? You expect some type of clairvoyant that somehow realizes that you really do not "want" his psychological help, but only the pills s/he can describe.

      There are good ways to deal with this type of problem. I do not know your specific system, and better don't assume it is similar as over here, although strictly it must somehow be. But there are specialists in the psychiatric trade, many really that do exactly the type of thing Fred was looking for. ...

      The second is not "better" since he does exactly what Fred wanted, only maybe based on his chosen method acts differently. All I can see in Fred's story is that he got what he thought he needed from the second one.

      That said, we can of course fail, and quite possibly I shouldn't give advise, since I did not even make it into the group therapy. The lady in charge of admission at my then university and apparantly the psychologist leading it too, told me after about five minutes, in which she had been mainly occupied with her tape recorder, apart from staring at her long red fingernails, as I remember it, told me after this very short visit: You feel very special, very different. Don't you? I would never, ever take you into my group. You would upset it, you would destroy it.

      I guess this somehow traumatic experience, and I knew a girl that did not survive the encounter with the lady very long, although I learned too late about it, unfortunately, makes me somehow wonder, why people could possibly willingly accept "to be different". Apart from the really simple fact that we are all somehow, or more or less functioning well.

      There is not even anything good or bad about the encounter above, since ultimately I looked for a psychologist and I looked really carefully. I guess I saw at least 5 of them, before I settled with one. And the ultimately only thing I was looking for was close attention. No notes, no tape recorder, not even Freud as a poster kind of like some superhero above his chair. And that was the best person, I have ever met. But I unfortunately forgot about the incidence above later. I did not store the feeling longtime. And occasionally simply my own hurried decisions comparable to Fred's above. Why not a woman, why not this method or why not this advise of a friend. Where I ultimately encountered that she told me pretty much the same she had told my friend. And I can assure you, my friend was very, very different.

    12. I think that the biggest obstacle to an individual with sociopathic traits achieving measurable progress via talk therapy are countertransference issues from the therapist.

      There are many reasonable reasons for a therapist to be afraid- for after all, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Most therapists can trace their fascination with the human psyche to meaningful interaction with disordered individuals- many therapists have their own traumas they are trying to resolve.

      When that is coupled with people like Robert Hare saying that psychopaths are more likely to reoffend and cause destruction after therapy, it can cause even the most unflappable therapist to ponder whether the boogeyman is masquerading as their patient. Who knows what the trigger points may be? Perhaps a toothpick is wielded in a similar fashion to the way the therapists abusive father used to use a toothpick, but all of this is processed on an unconscious level. All of the sudden, the therapist experiences a primal sense of fear that overrides the capacity for rational examination of the patients situation in place of a binary judgment of good/evil.

      This dynamic was brilliantly portrayed by the arc of therapist Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) who treated Tony Soprano in the HBO series portraying the life of a New Jersey mob boss. Ultimately, she "fires" Tony after repeated warnings from colleagues. While Tony was able to process his emotions in the safe place of therapy he was able to behave less impulsively and get in touch with his emotions in a way he had not been able to before. However, the abrupt therapist initiated termination of that "safe place" may possibly have erased the good accomplished (and my take away was that good had been accomplished). Anyway, Dr. Melfi's emotions got the better of her and she cut the ties in a way that no doubt was very destructive to Tony's capacity to trust anyone.

      While I am certainly not urging therapists to teach budding psychopaths life skills to operate destructively but stay under the radar, I am aware that only a certain sort of therapist is suited to treat a patient with antisocial leanings. They must have a solid awareness of their own trigger points so they do not risk overreacting in a way that causes them to inflict more harm on an already wary and cynical patient.

      The best outcome has nothing to do with a therapist converting a sociopath to "good" from "evil". Rather, through supporting the patient as they examine their own beliefs in a safe therapeutic space, the therapist can help a patient discern which beliefs lead to behaviors that sabotage the patients long term well being and the well being of individuals the patient feels to be useful. Within that framework, prosocial behavior can be encouraged in terms of supporting a patients self interest.

    13. Mach, you much too easily merge fiction and Hare's research based on Checkley's. While reading this to the point The Soprano's surfaced, I had one basic thought in mind: We can all let our fantasy drift off into some type of free association.

      I guess the core point you bring in is a potential danger to a psychotherapist. Was that triggered by my comment on the lady in charge of the group therapy I chatted about above? She too, may have protected herself somehow? Or could at least do so potentially. Counter transference can hardly occur in about 5 minutes. You cannot really judge a person in such time. ...

      To start with, do you consider the idea of a mobster psychopath going to see a psychologist realistic? And I haven't thought about that, but how many psychotherapist's were endangered or got killed by the patients? How many psychopathic criminals generally see a psychotherapist outside a forensic setting?

      The Soprano's made it over here. Only drew my attention in passing. I am not too fond of series of this kind. I prefer the type of the Sherlock Holmes type. Yes, I love fantasy if it is good. And since my childhood I loved detective novels. Quite possibly I am also not that drawn to family dynamics in film if it is too standard, more in real people.

      The story of The Sopranos was initially conceived as a feature film about "a mobster in therapy having problems with his mother."[17] After some input from his manager, Lloyd Braun, Chase decided to adapt it into a television series.[17] In 1995, Chase signed a development deal with production company Brillstein-Grey and wrote the original pilot script.[14][19][23]

      Drawing heavily from his personal life and his experiences growing up in New Jersey, Chase has stated that he tried to "apply [his own] family dynamic to mobsters."[22] For instance, the tumultuous relationship between series protagonist Tony Soprano and his mother, Livia, is partially based on Chase's relationship with his own mother.[22] Chase was also in therapy at the time and modeled the character of Dr. Jennifer Melfi after his own psychiatrist.[24]

      I do not think it is an accident you somehow combine Hare with fiction. Besides "Tony/James" may be a mobster but he is treated for depression not psychopathy. Now that has clearly a comic dimension.

      I love fiction and I am interested in research. But I am also aware that people occasionally stop to perceive reality correctly based on fictions/stereotypes/memes/fears (...) on their mind.

    14. Counter transference can hardly occur in about 5 minutes. You cannot really judge a person in such time. ...

      I am wrong with this of course, if you understand it as a general reduction of what counter-transference is about. And I am no psychologist. Time may indeed not matter. I admittedly I struggled with the reason why you immediately need to return to the fictive image of the "psychopathic criminal". While this strictly, as far as I remember it was about subjectively positive or negative encounters with therapists.

      I may be completely wrong, we all may err more frequently then be correct about people, but my working hypothesis at the moment is that you are somehow convinced that your troubles with your husband ultimately were related to him being some type of sociopath.

      You may not want to talk about it, but so far you didn't convince me. I am sorry if I got things absolutely wrong. This is admittedly a very, very superficial observation and there may be basic biases by me somehow hovering beneath.

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    16. My ex husband is not a sociopath by any stretch. He's actually someone I consider to be a good friend today. We married when we were still children because we shared a conservative Christian upbringing (I was only 20) that encourages early marriage and female subservience. We were married for 13 years and I don't regret them or the children I bore him. I do sometimes regret that our backgrounds got the better of us and our love died...

      I have actually seen far more sociopathic behavior in the political realm than in the personal realm. Having worked for politicians and also as a journalist, I am fascinated by organizational behavior. My awareness that all is not what it seems drives my personal desire to understand the "why" of behavior people label evil- and to see if anything constructive can come from less moralizing, and more rational thought and negotiation.

      As for Melfi- fine if you'd like to disagree- my only point was that her issues got in the way of Tony's treatment, ultimately. When therapy "fails", it's not always the patient's fault.

    17. @ LeaNder- why so hostile? Did I hurt your feelings way back when I suggested (perhaps incorrectly) you might have mommy issues?

    18. You didn't in fact hurt my feelings. Neither am I hostile. My basic mode is curiosity. If I have to describe mayself, I put it this way: curious nitwit.

      But I also cherish honesty, since at least so far it seems the best strategy to learn something new about perceptions of the world around us.

    19. good. because I love a solid debate with a curious soul.
      I'm glad we cleared that up.

  13. Don´t forget "the good sociopaths": the "scorpian" zodiac signs Virgo, Libra & Scorpio. Originally one sign, just Scorpio, this trio often combines normal human behaviours with the classic symptoms of psychopathy. Folks sometimes using unsensitive or harsh methods to help their fellow men! They mostly mean well & sometimes love others. The proper understanding of these "types" requires understanding of hollow men. Lesser predators, half-psychos. They usually come in peace, but without cotton gloves..

    1. Right-o! I'm told I have three Scorpio placements in my chart. (Sun, Venus, and I don't bloody know) So clearly, I am good, and no further evidence need be presented. Case dismissed! :D

    2. How are Libra's sociopathic? Arent they all about fairness and justice? Libras are supposed to be very charming, I think that's about where it ends.

    3. As I said, no librans exist; its a venus-ruled Scorpio, acting the way scorps do. Not evil. No small wars against the world. But in many ways a "normal psycho"..

  14. scary scorpio right here coming to get ya!

    1. Scorps often are "loving creatures", passionate. Warm folks sometimes rather surprised when "beady eyed"-critters such as Virgo "takes them for a ride" so to speak. Plays their flute.

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  15. You know what the problem with them is?

    They won't fucking go away!!!



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